Veronica Ewers is the first major signing to the new EF Education-Cannondale women’s team, which will launch under Continental license in 2024. The US-based company has since announced four additional riders, including Coryn Labecki, Nina Kessler, Noemi Rüegg and Megan Armitage, along with her general manager Esra Tromp.
Ewers was the only rider in the current EF Education-TIBCO-SVB team under contract until 2025, however, the future of that program is at risk from the loss of long-time sponsors TIBCO and Silicon Valley Bank, due to “recent financial challenges and events”.
“I’m still growing and developing as a rider, but I imagine next year I’ll be a race leader at times, especially when it comes to Grand Tours. I hope to have more opportunities to work on being a co-rider for my teammates on the other days,” said Ewers, who has signed a two-year contract with the new outfit.
Ewers joined the professional peloton as a trainee in 2021 and has spent the past two and a half seasons under contract with EF Education-TIBCO-SVB. During that time, she became one of the peloton’s preeminent riders in one-day and stage races, finishing ninth in the Tour de France Femmes in 2022 and fourth in the Giro d’Italia Donne in July.
She was forced to drop out of this year’s edition of the Tour de France Femmes after a crash on stage 6 with Blagnac.
The team also announced the signing of Rüegg and Labecki from Jumbo-Visma. Rüegg is a former cyclocross racer who turned to professional road racing in 2020. Her goal was to take the next step in her career with EF Education-Cannondale at the Spring Classics.
“I really like the classics. I am a very strong rider so these races suit me very well. I like it when it’s hectic in the company and you have to be well positioned as it goes up and down all day and over the cobbles,” said Rüegg, who will remain with the team until 2025.
“You have to know when to be where. Anything can happen in these races and nobody knows how they’re going to turn out. I think that’s what makes it really exciting.”
After two years at Jumbo-Visma, Labecki will look to lead the new team in one-day races, as well as opportunities in any possible stage race routes. Labecki is the reigning US criterium champion, one of her 73 national titles. She won the overall title at the Women’s Tour and is the only rider from the USA to win the Tour of Flanders.
“I would do anything for my teammates. I always stand up for my teammates. I don’t get any taste. I’ve been competing for a long time and I’ve been in the sport for a long time, so I like to share what I know and teach my teammates. The other thing is that I’m always looking for the best way for my teammates to win. That’s always on my mind when it comes to racing. I’m a big team player,” said Lambecki, who signed until 2024.
“It doesn’t matter what the course is. As long as there is a finish line, my goal is to get there first or get my team there first. I love tactics. I love strategy, how to be prepared and everything related to racing. This is what drives me every day. I’ve been called a sprinter before, but I like to call myself a bike racer.”
Like Labecki, Kessler brings over a decade of experience in the Boels-Dolmans, TIBCO-SVB and Jayco AlUla team races.
“I think I’m very good at motivating the team and the riders. “Especially because we’re going to spend so much time together, you always have ups and downs, so you want to make sure you’re always trusting your teammates,” said Kessler, who has signed a one-year deal through 2024.
“If you have the support of your team and do your best, it’s always good. I want to give my teammates that confidence and message to relax and do your best.”
Armitage is the latest signing, joining the team from Arkéa Pro Cycling. From Ireland, Armitage has signed a two-year contract and in that time he aims to improve and win races.
“I want to get to the point where I can win races. I want to win,” he said and added: “I want to be in a winning team. And I just want to enjoy myself and keep progressing. I have so much to learn, having come into the sport quite late, so I have a home for the next few years where I can learn from other riders who have been in the game much, much longer than me and learn from the managers and Esra, even and the guys on the men’s team will be pretty cool. So for me, it’s just about continuing to improve—and winning!”
#EducationCannondale #built #strong #team #Veronica #Ewers